The final round of my general election polling dashboard, based on 4,046 interviews between 5 and 9 December, shows clear Conservative leads on most measures – but with Labour support continuing to harden at the expense of the Liberal Democrats as polling day approaches.
When we ask how likely people are to vote for each party on a 100-point scale, the Conservatives receive an average score of 36 (down slightly from its peak of 37 last week), with Labour up a notch from 28 to 30, the Lib Dems down from 15 to 14 and the Brexit Party (in non-Conservative seats) down from 9 to 8. Remain voters who backed the Tories in 2017 put their chances of voting Conservative again at an average of 63/100, up from 61 last week, while Conservative leavers put their likelihood of staying with the party at 85, up from 84 last week and 82 the week before. Labour leavers, however, put their chances of switching to the Tories at 24/100, down from 28 last week.
Overall, 2017 Conservatives put their chances of staying with the party at 79/100 (up from 77). Labour voters from 2017 put their likelihood of voting Labour again at 65 – though this is up from 61 last week, 60 the week before and 55 three weeks ago. Leave voters’ declared likelihood of voting Conservative is unchanged at 63/100. Remain voters’ likelihood of voting Labour is at 47 (up from 40 three weeks ago), while their average chance of voting Lib Dem is down to 24, from 31 at the beginning of the campaign.
Boris Johnson’s lead over Jeremy Corbyn in the best Prime Minister stakes has narrowed slightly to 15 points (43% to 28%), from 17 points last week. The proportion of Labour leavers naming Johnson is down to 31%, from 40% last week – in our first survey of the campaign, conducted between 7 and 11 November, they broke 44% to 23% in favour of Johnson.
85% of 2017 Conservatives named Johnson (up from 84% last week), including 70% of Tory Remainers. The proportion of 2017 Labour voters naming Corbyn is 59%, up from 55% last week and 53% in the first week of the campaign.
When we force people to choose between a Conservative government with Boris Johnson as PM and a Labour government led by Jeremy Corbyn, we find a Tory lead of 8 points (54% to 46%), down slightly from 10 points last week. Labour leavers now break 58% to 42% in favour of Labour and Corbyn, compared to 54% to 46% in favour of Johnson and the Conservatives in the first week of the campaign. 2017 Tory remainers favour a Johnson-led Conservative government by 83% to 17%, down slightly from 86% to 14% last week.
Once again, nearly four in ten (37%) respondents said they could recall no election stories in the last few days, with a further one in five saying they had heard “lies”. The Johnson-Neil interview standoff, pledges of extra nurses, the Labour antisemitism row and claims about the NHS and trade deals were the most recalled specific stories.
Asked which would be worse for Britain – Jeremy Corbyn becoming PM, or Brexit – voters name Corbyn by 48% to 39% (compared to 49% to 39% last week). 47% of Labour leavers say Corbyn would be worse than Brexit, down from 58% in the first week of the campaign. 72% of Conservative remainers say Corbyn would be worse than Brexit, down slightly from 74% last week but up from 70% when the campaign began.
Voters think a Conservative government led by Boris Johnson would do a better job than a Labour government led by Jeremy Corbyn when it came to protecting Britain’s national security (by 28 points), Britain’s standing in the world (by 18 points), getting the right outcome on Brexit (by 16 points), dealing effectively with crime (by 13 points) the economy and jobs, immigration (both by 10 points), and setting taxes at the right level (by just 2 points).
Labour under Corbyn is thought likely to do a better job on the NHS and public services (by 15 points), improving living standards for most people (by 12 points), protecting the environment (by 10 points), creating a happier society (by 8 points) and improving opportunities (by 2 points).
Labour Leave voters think the Conservatives would do better on Brexit, national security, Britain’s standing in the world and immigration – but, by wide margins, that Labour would do better in all other areas we asked about.
When we asked people how they usually reacted when they heard parties make spending promises they thought were unrealistic, the most common answer was “angry that they take voters for fools” (45%). The next most common was “nothing – it’s what politicians do” (32%, including 43% of those leaning towards the Brexit Party), while a quarter said “worried that they might get the country into more debt.”
Those leaning towards the Tories were more likely than most to worry about excessive spending and debt (35%, putting it second on their list of likely reactions), while those leaning towards Labour were more likely than most to say “pleased they are trying to provide solutions, even if I don’t believe they can be delivered” (24%).
Asked what they make of Labour claims that the Conservatives are planning to privatise the NHS as part of a trade deal with Donald Trump and the United States, just over a quarter of all voters (27%), including more than half of those leaning towards Labour and 36% of 2017 Labour leavers, say the Tories have already started privatising parts of the NHS and that this will continue if they win the election. A further 9%, including one in five of those leaning towards Labour, say the Conservatives have a secret plan to privatise the NHS that involves selling parts of it to the US if they are returned to government.
Just over one in five voters, including a quarter of those leaning towards the Conservatives, say they think the party would like to privatise the NHS but they know they could never get away with it.
Only just over a quarter (26%), including 58% of Conservative-leaners and just 13% of 2017 Labour Leave voters, say they don’t believe the Tories want to privatise the NHS.
Only 59% of respondents said they had definitely decided how to vote on Thursday. Those leaning towards the Conservatives were the most likely to have decided (78%), and Conservative leavers were more likely to be sure (81%) than Tory remainers (64%). SNP-leaning voters were the next most likely to say they had made up their minds (66%), while 65% of Labour-leaners, 50% of Lib Dem-leaners and 27% of Green-leaners said the same. 2017 Labour Remain voters were more likely to be sure (67%) than Labour leavers (59%).
Recent weeks have seen a shift towards expectations of a Conservative victory and an overall majority for Boris Johnson. The proportion expecting the Tories to be the largest party in a hung parliament is down to 30% (from 34% in mid-November), while three in ten now expect a majority Conservative government (up from 22%). 86% of those leaning towards voting Tory expect the party to come out on top, including 58% who expect an outright victory. Just under half of those leaning towards Labour (45%) and the SNP (46%), and 65% of those leaning towards the Lib Dems expect the Conservatives to be the largest party or to have a majority.
We asked people to choose from a range of words to describe how various election outcomes would make them feel. The most common choices for a Johnson/Conservative win were “relieved,” “worried,” “despairing” and “hopeful.” The most frequent reactions to a Corbyn/Labour victory were “worried,” “hopeful,” “despairing” and “scared.”
For a hung parliament: “worried,” “despairing,” “resigned,” “depressed.”
Our map of the campaign shows how different issues, attributes, personalities and opinions interact with one another. The closer the plot points are to each other the more closely related they are. This week we see how the belief that the Conservatives have begun to privatise the NHS, or have a secret plan to do so, is centred squarely in Labour/Lib Dem territory (while the idea that the party would do so if it thought it could get away with appears close to the centre of the map). We can also see how those towards the Conservative-leaning side of the map are the most likely to be worried or angered by what they regard as unrealistic spending promises, while those further over are more likely to be pleased that solutions have been offered even if they don’t believe they can be delivered. There is also a clear divide between different kinds of voters when it comes to their reaction to the idea of another hung parliament.